If you’re trying to figure out how to get your cat to lose weight, you’ve come to the right spot! And guess what? We are going through this challenge right now too…
Our Pooh Bear is a robust butterball. He came to us at nearly 26 pounds. That was 9 years ago – and we’ve been learning a lot on his weight-loss journey ever since.
While this endeavor can be more difficult in a multi-cat household (like ours – with 6 cats), we know it is a necessary one. Obesity in cats (just as with humans) contributes to serious and life-threatening diseases. Diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, many cancers, and chronic inflammatory issues are all high-risk medical conditions for fat cats.
Three simple steps can help save our chonky kitties from experiencing these life-shortening issues.
- Kill the Kibble. Dry food contains 30+% of carbohydrates and starches. As obligate carnivores, cats are designed to eat meat – and these dry foods are not biologically appropriate diets. We know it can be hard to transition a kibble addict to a species appropriate diet, but it’s worth it. We transitioned our Pooh Bear (and all our cats) from kibble to wet food, and then from wet food to a balanced raw diet. This one step helped Pooh Bear lose 7 pounds of fat. It also had an obvious and healthful impact on all our cats.
- Exercise. Not only will this help your kitty shed those extra pounds, engaged playtime is so enriching for all cats. We know some cats (like Pooh Bear) can act like they don’t want to play. We’ve found using a wand toy (like Da Bird), and bringing your cat through the prey sequence is a great way to encourage activity and exercise their feline instincts.
- Calorie Counting. Feeding our kitties is not always as easy as following feeding guidelines – especially if we’re trying to help our cat lose some weight. And yes – sometimes it requires math to know how many calories our cat should be eating. Here’s the equation to figure out how to adjust our cat’s calorie intake:
- Convert your cat’s weight to kilograms by dividing the weight in pounds by 2.2
- Multiply the number of kilograms by 30
- Add 70 to that number
- Now multiply that number by 0.8
This number is the amount of calories our cat should eat to maintain their current weight.
So – to help our cat get to a healthy weight, we first need to know their ideal weight. A healthy weight for one cat may be 9 pounds, but for another cat, it could be 16 pounds. Ask you vet at your cat’s next wellness exam what their ideal weight should be, and then use the above equation to find the amount of daily calories to feed.
Our Pooh Bear is a naturally big-boned kitty, and while he currently weighs just over 19 pounds, he should weight between 16-17 pounds to live his best, longest life. This means making sure he only eats his portion-controlled meals – and not finish off any food left in his brother’s and sister’s bowls. This takes extra time and vigilance – but at every meal, we know it’s what we need to do. We want Pooh Bear with us for as long as possible – and these extra efforts are well worth it.
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